Today, I’m headed to Baltimore to give a talk at the Enoch Pratt Free Library (7pm). I’m excited for the chance to spread the word on food waste. If you find yourself near Charm City and looking to hear all about it, come on down!
Thanks to the United Way of Central Maryland, Wesleyan University and the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future for making tonight’s event possible. I will try my best to avoid references to The Wire.
March 5, 2012 | Posted in Personal|Comments closed
This piece of mine ran yesterday on Grist. You could call it preachy, but, hey, I think it’s warranted. Let me know what you think.
This is not about the guilt-ridden question: Should I eat meat? That personal dilemma has already been debated thoroughly on Grist and elsewhere. Instead, here’s another dose of angst for us meat eaters, just in case we needed one: If we’re going to condone the killing of animals, the least we can do is eat all of the resulting meat.
When I do readings for my book, American Wasteland, I begin by talking about the ethical shortcomings of wasting food. Primarily, there’s the idea that someone would have loved to eat the foods that we squander. Wasting food devalues the suffering of millions in America and a billion worldwide who don’t get enough to eat. These days, 15 percent of Americans[PDF] are food insecure, or struggle to find enough to eat. And food banks and hungry people have a hard time getting sufficient protein, especially the kind not found inside a tin can or a cylinder of casing.
Wasting meat raises the stakes to create an ethical double whammy. Squandering animal protein — and some would include offal here — debases our quotidian killing of animals. As Paul Root Wolpe, director of the Emory Center for Ethics, told me: “To treat food cavalierly leads to a lack of appreciation of the importance of food, of the fact that some go without it, of the suffering of animals that the carnivores among us are willing to tolerate to eat our food.”
Ideally, the growing number of hungry people would motivate us to treasure our edibles — meat especially — at all stages of the food chain. But, contrary to what we claim, we do not. Globally, at least one-third of all food isn’t consumed [PDF]. Domestically, that figure jumps to about 40 percent. And zooming in further, we squander about 25 percent of the food we bring into our homes.* It seems that in the cold calculus of everyday life, ethics aren’t all that motivating. Read More »
Also, yesterday and today I’ve been at the Shared Tables Symposium at UNC and Duke. I’ve been heartened to hear several speakers, including the great food writer Tom Philpott, noting the importance of reducing waste throughout the food chain.
Based on what I’m seeing and hearing, I do think that efficiency will become a major buzzword in the years ahead as we stare down the prospect of feeding the estimated 9 billion global citizens of 2050.
February 29, 2012 | Posted in Farm|Comments closed
Wondering what you should be keeping your eye on this year? Well, marketing communications firm JWT has you covered with their 100 Things to Watch in 2012.
Why am I telling you this? Why, because “Curbing Food Waste” made that list. See for yourself in their neat slide show (done in alphabetical order–see #16). Also encouraging–”Fuel from Waste” (#26) made the cut.
It’s an interesting list and makes for some fun perusing (Silence is going to be big this year–just not in my two kid household!). Anyway, it’s encouraging that JWT chose curbing food waste, not just diverting it from landfill.
Not surprisingly, “Curbing Food Waste” is also an answer for the specific JWT question of What’s Cooking? in 2012. And if you’re super busy, why did you read this much of the post? here’s the square root of the main list–the Top 10 Trends.
Happily, that is no longer the case at the major British chain Sainsbury’s, as they’ve backed off that uber-cautious advice. With the backing of the waste-reduction crew at WRAP, Sainsbury’s labels now look like this:
Here’s Beth Hart, Sainsbury’s head of product technology for fresh and frozen:
There is no food safety reason why it cannot be frozen at any point prior to the use-by date. As one customer pointed out to me while discussing the previous labelling, ‘How does the product know which day I purchased it on?’
The news has been widely reported, with the story appearing in the BBC (best headline), The Telegraph, and The Guardian. But I wish someone was asking how that silly bit of original advice existed for so long.
Anyway, while we’re on the subject, here are some useful frozen food tips, courtesy of Love Food Hate Waste:
Fruit: slice and freeze lemons then use them straight from the fridge in iced drinks. Frozen grapes and strawberries also make novel ice cubes which also taste great.
Potatoes: simply parboil (boil for about 5 mins) and freeze them for later. When you want them thaw overnight and roast the next day. Mashed potato also freezes well.
Milk: if you know you’re not going to use milk before the date freeze it. and then when you need some milk thaw in the fridge. Plastic containers are okay for freezing milk in, but the milk will expand so pour out a small amount (for a cup of tea for example) to allow for this, shake well before using
Cheese: try grating Cheddar cheese before freezing and use as toppings on pizza or shepherd’s pie from frozen. Stilton can be frozen without grating and is just as good as fresh!
Leftover roast meat: such as chicken and lamb. Thaw in the fridge and use as normal, in a risotto or curry.
Bread: use straight from frozen as toast or make sandwiches for work – by lunchtime they’ll be defrosted. Bang the loaf on the work surface before putting it in the freezer to help the frozen slices come apart more easily.